THREE QUESTIONS TO MORTEN HELVEG PETERSEN
A Member of the European Parliament in the ALDE group and Vice Chair of the Industry, Research and Energy committee, Morten Helveg Petersen is founding chair of Energy Solutions, a network of industry representatives and Members of the European Parliament. Participants discuss and develop policy options across positions and parties for meeting the EU 2030 energy and climate goals to realise the European Energy Union. This is his second year as Ambassador for EUSEW.
How has the sustainable energy landscape changed since EUSEW 2016?
Since EUSEW 2016, the Commission has launched the Clean Energy for All Europeans package containing eight ambitious proposals to ensure that the Energy Union is on track. We are going in the right direction, but the proposals could have gone much further.
It is now down to us, The European Parliament, to make the case for a more optimistic and more ambitious transition. If we get it right, it will be the foundation for a brand new and much needed single energy market in Europe. If we fail, it will lead to a halt in innovation, the loss of thousands of new jobs, a continuous EU import of Russian gas and of oil from the Middle East. And we will continue to exacerbate climate change. The pressure is on.
Failure is not an option. We can do it! I am confident that we will achieve the task. All the arguments are there to support the transition to a better European energy system that delivers clean energy for all European citizens.
Last year you saw innovative thinking and dynamic, more localised energy markets as important future trends. How do you now see the future of sustainable energy?
These are no longer just future trends; they exist already and require further action. Most urgent to the future of sustainable energy is that we find the right solutions to give much-needed support to innovation and the development of localised energy markets.
I am currently discussing several issues with fellow colleagues and relevant stakeholders. One issue is the need to create the right conditions to support the regional cross-border energy trade; another issue is how we make full use of the energy supplied.
In light of the increasing inclusion of renewable energy sources, we need more coordination to avoid the continuance of cross-border issues caused by basic protectionism. Why do we have very costly and often very inefficient and unnecessary energy usage; when there is a real opportunity for clean and inexpensive energy to flow freely from the North to South and West to East and vice versa?
On the demand side, it is crucial to use energy in the smartest, most efficient and optimal ways. Looking at increasing the energy performance of buildings is one of the most obvious ways to improve this. We have to find the right balance between ambition in terms of renovating our buildings and the renovation’s financing, which needs to be made available and accessible at every scale.
Do you plan to attend the 2017 EUSEW Policy Conference? If so, what are you looking forward to and what is your message for participants this year?
Absolutely! I had the pleasure of being there last year and this year I am participating in the Ambassadors’ debate, which I am very much looking forward to. It is a great opportunity to build connections and take part in the creation of the Energy Union, which is the most ambitious, important single project in Europe right now.